It’s the end of the year—we’ve wrapped up a busy holiday season filled with an abundance of excitement, merriment, and anticipation. As the year winds down, these last few days tend to be full of reflection and examination of hopes, aspirations, and goals for an even better year to come.

I’ve joined the many individuals who are counting blessings and spending some introspective time on how I can be better as an individual, a wife, and as a steward to those within my community. I’m spending time understanding how I want to improve, and just what I’d like to accomplish in 2014.

With this planning at the forefront, the word “goal setting” can cause some anxiousness, filled with varying levels of emotion. The New Year often starts off just like any marathon—nerves and excitement are at helm, and hopes are soaring. Then, mile 10 sets in and you may begin to question what inspired you to pursue this mission in the first place. Or, as with goals or resolutions, February sets in and your inspiration may begin to waver.

So, how should you approach your goals this year? How can you make sure you are staying focused and on target? How can you pave a solid road for success? Personally, I’m keeping a few tips in mind that I thought worth sharing.

Select a Few Major Themes

Individual goals—losing weight, painting the house, cooking at home four nights a week, or saving 10% of your income per month—can be lost on the bigger picture. What are you trying to accomplish? When you get to the end of 2014, who or what do you hope to be? What words will encompass the year?

Financial freedom? Improved health? Career growth? Stronger relationships?

It’s these big picture items that will help you align goals to begin to build a more meaningful, successful, happy, and impactful life. You’re always going to have goals that may not fit directly with the major themes, but in the grand scheme, a theme or focus will keep you moving forward and give you a larger purpose.

Balance Your Categories

Whether it’s personal, professional, or spiritual, the importance of balance cannot be overstated. Burning yourself out on professional goals at the expense of personal goals will leave you tired and, in time, unfulfilled. Balance the number of goals within each category to ensure you are nurturing yourself emotionally and physically as well. For those that are married or in a committed relationship, it might even be worth outlining relationship goals with your significant other—this can serve as a tremendous method for building an even deeper, more loving relationship.

With those two things in mind, here are my broad themes:

– Be Present
– Be Encouraging
– Be Still

I’ll expand on these a bit more in my next post as I begin to outline my January goals—aligning them to themes along with categories. I’ve never really mapped goals out in such a manner before, so I’m really excited about the insights and blessings the New Year holds for me!

This has been a long and difficult year. I am so thankful to have made it to the other side with my head held high and such hope for the year to come. Here’s to a tremendous final day of 2013—see you on the other side!

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